Learn to Fly

If you’re uncertain if you’re interested in flying gliders, we offer air experience flights as an introductory lesson or for if you just want to experience soaring in the red centre.

If you’re certain that you want to learn to soar, then new students are always welcome at the club. Costs to getting started include club membership, membership of the GFA, and learning materials (costs listed here). You should expect to arrive at 10:00 on operational days to get the most out of the day and so you can help prepare the gliders.

GPC Syllabus

The GFA training materials and syllabus can be found here and covers the topics you will be taught to take you from first flight, through solo flight, and on to the Glider Pilot Certificate (GPC). The GPC recognises a pilot’s ability to fly cross-country flights, away from your home airfield, safely and independently. Some of the material covered in this syllabus includes:

Flight theory
  • Orientation to gliding; including ground handling and signals, sail plane stability, and flight patterns.
  • Learn the primary effects of controls and secondary effects of control inputs
  • Aileron and Rudder coordination
  • Straight and level flight at various speeds
  • Sustained and balanced turns
  • Entering into the approach circuit and pre-landing checks
  • Slow flight and stalling
  • Radio procedures
Gliding techniques
  • Launch and release
  • Thermal entry and centering techniques
  • Crosswind takeoff/landings
  • Launch emergencies
  • Flying with other gliders
  • Rules of the air
After First Solo
  • Steep turns & Side slipping
  • Thermal sources and selection
  • Outlandings
  • Meterology and flight planning
  • Navigation and airspace
  • ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ certificate qualification
  • Glider Pilot Certificate

Qualifications

As a student there are a number of qualifications you’ll achieve post-solo which recognise your increasing skills and independence and provide increasing flying privileges.

ABC Certificate Badges

‘A’ Certificate
Requirements
  • Minimum of 5 solo flights
  • Satisfactory check flight involving:
    • An awareness of pre-spin symptoms and a demonstration of the correct action to prevent a spin developing.
    • Fly an accurate circuit without reference to an altimeter.
    • Correct handling of selected emergencies.
  • An online theory exam on basic aeronautical knowledge, flight rules, and procedures.
Allows
  • Flying solo under the observation of an instructor and local area soaring.
‘B’ Certificate
Requirements
  • Minimum of 15 solo flights including one of not less than 30 minutes duration.
  • Completion of post-solo training syllabus.
  • An online exam on basic theory, flight rules and procedures, and basic airworthiness.
Allows
  • Flying solo under the observation of an instructor and local area soaring.
  • Mutual flying with another passenger of ‘B’ certificate rating.
‘C’ Certificate
Requirements
  • Minimum of 20 solo or mutual flights, including two of not less than 60 minutes duration.
  • Trained and checked in ability to carry out a safe outlanding.
  • Demonstrate satisfactory spin entry and recovery.
  • Received a passenger awareness briefing.
  • An online exam on basic theory, flight rules and procedures, and basic soaring meteorology.
Allows
  • Cross-country flights at the discretion of the Chief Flying Instructor.
  • Carrage of ‘family/friend’ passengers (not for hire or reward).
Glider Pilot Certificate

GPC wings

Requirements
  • Completion of units 1-44 in the GPC syllabus.
  • Hold a private passenger carrying logbook endorsement.
  • Hold an independent operator logbook endorsement.
  • Endorsement of the GPC application by the Chief Flying Instructor.
Allows
  • Operate independently without instructor supervision.

Badges

As well as being a competitive sport, with point-to-point competitions held throughout the year and continuous online competition, there are also various achievements to aim for as you progress and improve your flying skill. The most notable are the internationally recognised FAI badges which have been awarded in some form since 1931.

FAI badges

Silver Badge Requirements
  • An endurance flight of at least 5 hours.
  • A distance flight of at least 50km away from the home airfield.
  • A gain of height of at least 1000m (3280’).
Gold Badge Requirements
  • An endurance flight of 5 hours (completed during Silver).
  • A free distance flight of at least 300km.
  • A gain of height of at least 3000m (9843’).
Diamond Badge Requirements
  • A free distance flight of at least 500km.
  • A pre-declared flight of at least 300km.
  • A gain of height of at least 5000m.